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Monday, January 31, 2011

don't worry, i had a banana today too

Fluff baby! Where's the peanut butter?

Mmmm....Fluff. I had to get some of this goodness when I spotted it at the grocery store up north to share with some southern friends who said they'd never had it. Growing up it was a huge treat to get the every once in a while peanut butter and Fluff sandwich on really bad cheap white bread. SO good. Here's my new and improved adult version:

*Natural peanut butter
*Fluff (I'm sorry, there's no such thing as organic, or natural any kind of this. You just have to roll with the original and embrace the cavities.)
*Good quality crusty fresh country loaf bread
*Grill it, put it in a panini press, or toast in toaster oven

Um, Yeah. That my friends, is a sandwich like you read about and officially qualifies as a smack-yo-mamma-good eat. It will be a menu item on my food truck some day accompanied by Oreos for garnish. Can you say smiles?

You know you want to run to the grocery store right now and buy the stuff to make one...

sauced in saratoga

Strolling the wintery streets of Saratoga, NY

Hey, you've got to do something to keep yourself warm in that crazy winter weather.

Looks like I missed a Chowderfest by about a week. This small Upstate, NY town is the perfectly quaint kind. You know- the kind you see in brochures? I can still hear the commercial sound bites from when I was growing up: "Saratoga; The August Place To Be." Indeed it is. Ahhh, those gorgeous houses and all that horse racing. This recent visit didn't have me too excited to walk around long in the frigid temps, although I did enjoy my time there. It's always fun daydreaming of my summers in the Northeast, wandering the charm of all those picturesque towns like this one.

Let me know when the green grass, sunshine and warm temperatures are back Saratoga. I'd be more than happy to come back and get sauced with you!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

sick day #2

Double Ouch.

At least the SAG Awards are on tonight to entertain me. How I love awards show season.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

meet mia

Mia did her own make-up

Mia is my friends daughter. I hadn't caught up with this old friend in quite some time, so we were just chatting and chatting away last week in her living room. In bops this little cutie saying "Look Mommy! I did my own make-up!" Trying not to laugh my friend responds "Yes honey- we see that."

Oh to be that adorable and have that shameless pride.

Thanks for entertaining us Mia!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

anybody up for a swim?

Pool at Mom and Dad's

Come on in- the water is fine!

I had a full on plan to jump in that and make a snow angel but I forgot. Now I'm gone so it's too late. That is a total bummer.

Anyone else have a photo of a self-made snow angel they'd like to share with us?

where else do you visit?

I'd love to know what other websites or blogs you check in to/read on a daily or weekly basis. Of those you do read, which are the ones you leave comments on, or participate with in some way?

Look below this post, click "comments" and write away. (You are welcome to email me too.)

Thanks for any feedback!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

v cheese

Cabot Extra Sharp Vermont White Cheddar is a food group for me. I sliced up a snack of cheese and crackers this week tore a piece in half and nearly gobbled up before I noticed it looked like the state of Virginia:

My cheese looks like Virginia!

How random is that?

Maybe I'll see Jesus or Jay Leno in my toast tomorrow morning and be able to sell it on eBay.

a little too gung-ho?

Never! How could you ever be too enthusiastic?

Word of the Day for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

gung-ho \GUHNG-HO\, adjective:

1. Wholeheartedly enthusiastic and loyal; eager; zealous.
2. In a successful manner.

Ok, Ok, maybe there are times when you can get just a tad too gung-ho. Like when I'm ready to rock and roll with a BLR project, as in- the one I told you I'd announce today. I'm sorry to say you will have to be juuust a little more patient with me. In developing the project idea and putting together a full plan of attack, a few thoughts and opinions have come up that I am all about including. Doing that has pushed back the announcement. My goal to post details within a week or so. We shall see!

As Bazooka Joe comics say, "Patience is a virtue, seersucker is a fabric."

Side note that's more of a front note: Today is Mom's 50th birthday. A full day of time spent one on one with My Mamma that I only get to see a couple times a year, trumps all other things/projects that might seem "important" anyway. Priorities. I know you all understand those.

Hold tight, good things will always keep coming in...

Here's to spending time with people you love!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I picked up some very important materials for the kick-off of the next BLR project starting tomorrow:

Diane with Blue Lollipops

It made me very, very happy to know my small town "penny candy" store was still kickin' it old school, same as 20 years ago:

Good ol' Willy's Variety

Candy wall at Willy's

I visited Willy's in 2009 and wrote about it here. I was glad to see the wall of candy fully stocked this go around. I didn't see the blue lollipops I needed, so asked the girl working there. (Same girl who's worked there for at least 20 years.) Why do I love small towns? For that reason, and the fact that she happily answered my "Can you order me some?" with an "Absolutely! They'll be here tomorrow by 3pm and don't worry about paying for them until you pick them up!"

Small town country store experience: Check. Speedy service and better price on my blue razz pops that I have found anywhere else in the country: Check, check. Nostalgia and feel good times in Vermont: Check, check, check.

Thanks for helping me kick off my next project Willy's. High-five's and blue lollipops all around!

Monday, January 24, 2011

check back wednesday...

...for new project announcement.

Have I mention we are excited? :)

"my legs are numb!"

We dress in ridiculous clothes, do the robot and jump in snow piles that are almost up to the roof to entertain ourselves around these parts when the temperatures are frigid. There is no time to be cute, so I am looking super hot in Dad's big boots:

Me doing the robot in Dad's boots

My sister likes jeans instead of snow pants:

Sister on a snow pile

I had to make some video:

It was pretty easy to convince her to jump back in the snow pile:

She was screeching that her legs were numb (it was her idea to jump in and take photos in the first place!) We laughed so hard we were crying. It's too bad we are so boring and don't know how to have fun.

No snow bank jumping this morning. It still says -15 on the thermometer outside at 9am. OUCH! I'm thinking Costa Rica or some other southern destination might be a good choice for next January...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

websites for savings

I just read a financial article about getting deals and helpful tips for shopping. Had to pass on Invisible Hand and Kickbucks. Check them out and sign up!

I just love saving money. The more I save the more I can spend on chocolate and gas for road trips.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

vermont in the winter

Remember a few days ago when I posted those lovely green mountains and summer photos from Vermont? As promised, here's the winter version! The Peacock mailbox looks a bit different eh?

The Peacock winter mailbox

Mom's wheel barrel of flowers? No, you can't see it. Do you spot that bump in the snow? Yep, it's buried under there:

Where did Mom's flower whell barrel go?

Here's the BLR Mobile covered in powder. This was on the first day I was here. There's even more on it now. I am taking up a collection to see how tall it gets before I brush it off and start it up:

The BLR Mobile under some serious powder

I thought it'd be fun to go out in my pj shorts and sweatshirt with just Dad's boots on to snap some photos:

The snow is almost high enough to go in my Dad's boots

That got cold real quick.

Since I took these photos, it has snowed more, more, and more. This morning my sister and I thought that was a great excuse to go outside again, act like complete jackasses, take more photos and shoot video. I don't know when was the last time I laughed that hard.

Check back for more on the subject of snow in Vermont on this soon to be -17 degree night and what we do to entertain ourselves. I'll post the jackass video this weekend.

Ahhh...family time.

4 days until...

...the announcement of the next Blue Lollipop Road Project. Exciting. Very, very exciting.

Drumroll please!

Friday, January 21, 2011

write a review, win stuff

Ok my fellow travelers! You know I like to spread the love on bargains and ways to win cool stuff. One of my new favorite websites, Gogobot is having a Hotel Challenge. Check out details here. Just write a review about a hotel you think:

*Is romantic for a lovey dovey getaway. (Clearly Valentines Day is impending)
*Has a killer bar. (You know you have enjoyed a few cocktails and been shakin' that booty somewhere super fun before: WHOOP WHOOP!)

They are giving away an iPad or iPad Nano. 30 days to enter. Doooeeet and put Gogobot in your bookmarks for sharing and searching travel tips. If you do enter, let me know when you post your romantic hotel spot. I'll give Dennis Quaid a heads up on where he might want to take me on a hot date for the holiday of love this year.

Where's your favorite smoochin' spot?

a reader diner favorite

This one just in from reader Gretchen:

The Village Coal Tower in Upstate, NY.

Thanks Gretchen. Yum, this place looks great! Love those small town family run joints. I'll have to check it out when I go to the Finger Lakes this summer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

my view from this morning

Blue Benn Diner counter seat

Blue Benn Diner juke box

Finally that homemade cinnamon sugar doughnut I was craving all fall. I had to get an old-fashioned style photo...

Blue Benn Diner coffee and doughnut old fashoined

...and one in living color too:

Blue Benn Diner coffee and doughnut


Blue Lollipop Road LOVES some Blue Benn Diner. (How many times have I written about this place? :) I just had to add a review to the New York Times Travel Guide today too to spread the love.

Where's your favorite diner breakfast?

set sail

""Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed with the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream"

- Mark Twain

Thanks for sending this Deej. We love you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


If you are a reader here and are willing to answer 3 questions for me, please send me an email to: diane(AT)bluelollipoproad(DOT)com with the subject line reading "feedback." I will email you the questions when I get a message from you. (You may also post a comment here and leave me your email address if you'd like.)

Thank you!

I'm brainstorming a few projects and would love to have reader input. I appreciate any help!

surprises continued...

I will be announcing a Blue Lollipop Road project next week that is a big one and I am very, very excited about. The most exciting part is that it will involve all of you!

I'm off to Vermont for several reasons, this project being one. The only place I could kick it off properly.

Will you join me for some collaboration?

vermont in the summer

The green mountains:

Mount Anthony and Bennington Monument

The good old country mailbox at the folks house:

Mailbox at Mom and Dad's

Mom's flowers:

Mom's flowers

Vermont in the winter? None of the above. In fact, the weatherman is talking some crazy stuff about -11 overnight this Friday night. (Yes, that's negative.) I sure do pick a good month out of the year to go home for a visit!

Stay tuned for "Vermont in the winter" photos and me frozen in a snowbank.

Where is your winter wonderland?

i love a deal

Yay LivingSocial deal for today! Get a $20 Amazon.com gift card today for $10. Click here. Super deal, You can get that special someone a good book to curl up in during this cold winter weather or get them a box of blue lollipops. Everybody likes boxes of blue lollipops :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

park city or bust

Just kidding. I am heading to a different frigid part of the country.

Sundance Film Festival starts this Thursday and I will be there in spirit while in another snowy location. I was lucky enough to be see a slew of incredible flicks in 2002 when I was there. I worked at the Olympics in Salt Lake City so the arrival in Utah for both those events coincided perfectly. We watched movie shorts and documentaries, foreign films and silent films. We saw these in various places from retail spaces, to independent theaters and even got to meet the makers and ask them questions. It was an extraordinary event to be a part of.

This year I have caught wind of a couple films that I can't wait to see, as soon as I have access. One is Pariah that I wrote about a short time ago here. The other is called Race To Nowhere. This movie looks at Americas achievement culture. You know, those overworked kids who don't even know what grass-stained play clothes or a kickball game means. I'm looking forward to following Sundance this year and hearing reactions on these two films and others. It amazes me how many talented and dedicated people are out there. Especially the ones who somehow create pieces of art with little or no budget, and manage to keep massive amounts of heart and faith until they finish.

Cheers to the artists of the world and Congratulations to all the Sundance Films!

Monday, January 17, 2011

want a job? start a blog!

This is the same as me suggesting you journal every night before bed. Why don't people seem to do that anymore? Remember when we all used to have diaries and journals and took them everywhere we went so we could babble about things going on in our lives every night?

When I first started traveling years ago, I remember people excitedly asking me if I wrote or kept a journal which I told them yes of course. The replies would always be the positive "Good for you's" and "You'll be thankful someday that you have a log of what you have done." I couldn't agree more. Flash forward a bunch of years and for some reason when people catch wind that you have a blog, the eyes roll and they often mumble "Oh jesus, everyone has a blog these days." (At least this seems to be the response I often get.) Perhaps those people don't understand that blog is short for web-log, and that the only difference between a paper-log and a web-log is a pencil and the option to either keep it to yourself of share with the world. I choose to share my journal with the world.

I know a bunch of folks who have blogs that no one knows about. I never started writing Blue Lollipop Road because I wanted to be rich and famous or have gazillions of people reading. I started writing this because I was busting at the seams to share information and stories about my adventures. After that 90th delicious sandwich somewhere in state X, or amazing photo I captured somewhere, I wanted a place to share my life. I had also started becoming the human Google for friends and family: "Where should we got eat here, and what's cool to check out there?" would be the subject of many of my conversations. Nothing made me happier than passing on inside scoop about neat stuff to eat, check out. I always kept a hand-written journal, on personal thoughts, feelings and travel information, but I moved around a bunch and started collecting piles of those paper journals that would just sit in boxes. I thought a bunch of dusty books needed to become something more, so one day in 2008 I was driving along the beach in NC and Blue Lollipop Road popped in my head out of nowhere. I would start a blog. The rest is history. Today is post #840 and my little BLR has taken on a life of it's own that I never expected.

I am sharing all this because during my several months of sending resumes, attempting to connect with companies I think are great, discussions with unemployed friends or those who are looking for a career change, and more, the subject of this blog has come up consistently. In brainstorming back and forth ideas: How do we perfect a resume? What sets us apart from the rest of the stack of eggshell white slips of paper on someone's desk that are supposedly going to give our next potential employer insight to what we have worked our butts off doing over the past 20 years? Funny enough, nearly every single program or company I have contacted about potential work/collaboration, has written back and commented on this blog and not even mentioned my resume. 37 Signals wrote about conventional resumes being "dead' in their book REWORK. They are right. If you want to get in front of someone and shine, you need to show the brand of YOU far beyond just a resume.

That leads me to my suggesting that if you don't have a blog, start one. Whether anyone will ever see it or not, it can become an optional feather in your cap or your one up on the competition.

Buy a domain name at Go Daddy (I can send a promo code that will get you a discount if you email me: diane(AT)bluelollipoproad(DOT)com. Choose something you thing fits you, your first and last name, a name of a hobby you like, a business name you've always daydreamed of, etc.) Choose a blog template that's free through Blogger, WordPress, or Tumblr, and start posting. Call Go Daddy if you have ANY questions about your domain name, how to use it, or how to set up your free email address you get with domain purchase. (It's all less than $10- anyone can afford that.) When you dial the Go Daddy number, an actual person answers and they are amazing. They will walk you through anything you need. You are interesting and have plenty to post about. No you do not need to know anything about coding or some complicated web-building tool, it's all dummy-proof, and I am an example of that. I know zero about building a custom site. You poke around a figure it out. You don't have to babble on and on for hundreds of posts or become a professional writer. Just post a couple lines on your thoughts, maybe a link to a website you like, a book you read, some article you thought was funny. Put up a photo of your dog, your favorite shoes, the bottle of beer you drank last night, or that time you hiked Mount Everest. Simple as that. Do that every day. Then, either add your new blog (domain name www.blahblah.com) to the "Activities and Interests" portion of your resume or include it in your email/cover letter to whatever company you are applying to work with.

Doing something like blogging consistently, in the pile of your other massive talents, showcases the brand of YOU. What you do, read, think about, and who you are (whether it's winning a knitting championship, playing with bugs, or being an ultra-marathoner) will make you shine a little brighter in that stack of horribly boring and antiquated resumes. Remember to always write and publish things that are AUTHENTICALLY YOU. How you would speak conversationally. Be relatable. No bull that you think will make you cool, fancy or score some perfect job. That's not the point, you are simply making a practice of doing something consistently that keeps your mind engaged and holds you accountable to your own personal goals. Companies love that. People appreciate authenticity, and will see through a fake. They will always side to buy into someone they're comfortable they're getting the real deal with. Share things. Show the world who you are and why they should trust and buy into you.

If you need help, have questions, or would like to brainstorm, comment here or shoot me an email. We can have a phone chat. I'd love to help anytime.

Now go get your blog on!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

did you know?

You can actually do ANYTHING you want to do?

get your bubbly ready

It's Golden Globes night baby! Boy do I love awards show season. Fashion, fashion, fashion. I reserve the TV those few times a year, for way too many hours to watch pre-show, actual show and post-show. I just can't get enough of the interviews, the dresses, the speeches and of course tomorrow when Joan Rivers Fashion Police rips those few poor souls apart for their supposed bad attire choices. I'm sorry, I think it's wildly entertaining.

Full-on guilty pleasure television and girly time? Yes, and it's heaven :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

your darn right it is

Look what came back to me already! 4 to 6 weeks nothing, a week later- my brand new shiny passport came back in the mail today:

My new passport!

Indeed the world is mine for the taking. You know I love that!

Friday, January 14, 2011

the kids are missing out

Sign on revolving door

I misbehave in these doors too and they've never told me I could use them. Poor kids.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

my corn is famous!

Ok, so that sounds kind of gross. Maybe I should say my lunch is famous.

Cafe' Habana, NYC

I was contacted by NY Schmap a while ago about this photo I took at at Cafe' Habana in Soho. I wrote about my incredible lunch there back in July here. Of course you can use my photo I told them. Look what I just got notification of. Yep- that's my photo!

Don't miss out on Cafe' Habana next time you're in NYC. You will be one happy camper if you eat there. Especially if you have this to die for corn appetizer. I love yummy food and I really love that my yummy food photos can be seen by others. Thanks Schmap!

let's get global

I should've gotten a tattoo of a laptop- then maybe Mac would sponsor me. I have spent more hours on my laptop in the past few weeks than it took me to drive to Alaska. This machine is like an arm these days! It's all necessary to connect with people I'm interested in working with, for research, etc. My fingers are calloused and my butt is numb, but I'm so happy to have found programs and companies like these:

*Let's Get Global: Hello! Bring the Gap Year to America?! This is like my DREAM, my pie in the sky. My "If I had a million dollars" and what I believe changes lives for the better and teaches perspective more than anything. The good thing is I can work with them. Loving that.

*Gogobot: It's like Lonely Planet, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and more, but even better and all in one for travel. No more boring text perusing and being frustrated by endless Google search (think those Bing commercials) for finding secret spots and amazing places to travel, this site is GREAT. Check it out and join!

*Roadmonkey: Philanthropic Adventure Trips? Sign me up! I am so excited to find more and more people doing this stuff, I want to jump out of my skin. Who needs Sandals Resorts when you can do this stuff? (Yeah, yeah, some people like Sandals. That's Ok, to each his own.) Me? I'm a Roadmonkey.

Before we know it, we'll have all the kids in America exposed to bunches of different places, people and cultures by the time they're 18.

Wouldn't that be swell?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


(...Daydreaming of fresh bread and cheese with some first press olive oil and good Italian wine...)

Online banking has just informed me that the $110 check for my passport renewal has cleared. This means the little blue book I love so much will be coming back in the mail soon. I sure like things that color.

Once again this is your friendly public service announcement to make sure your passport is active and updated. What if Regis and Kelly called your granny while in her robe last week and gifted her a trip to Barbados because she knew what color Neil Patrick Harris' bathroom walls are, where he spends Christmas or something? Now she wants to give the trip to you for your birthday. It could happen! Be prepared.

"it'll be ok. we can go get a milkshake after!"

So now for the reveal of a big surprise and our BLR Saturday Team Building excursion:

A tattoo.

Long about the end of July when I left Madison Wisconsin and started blazing a fast trail through Canada, somewhere in the silence of my many hours alone driving, popped in my head from out of nowhere: I'm going to get a tattoo, yep, a blue lollipop and it's going to be on my left arm on the inside of my wrist. I'll do it when I finish this trip. Perfect.

And I never questioned my thought on the subject again. I also didn't tell anyone for a couple months. Going into it, only 4 people total knew- including Intern Sarah who actually accompanied me to get branded for life and document it all. 5 months of me keeping a secret when I am excited about something is near monumental. Me getting a tattoo is really monumental. My response to the "Do you have any tattoos" in the past has been. "No way! They day I find something I want to have on my body for the rest of my life is the day I will get a tattoo. I doubt that's ever going to happen.

Funny how things change eh?

So, after months of waiting, drawings made by a very special and significant person to the Blue Lollipop Road, 2 previous visits to scope the tattoo spot and chat with the artist, feeling like a preppy adolescent geek among older cool talented kids, lots of nausea when thinking about it, and a sleepless Friday night last week being totally freaked out and nervous about the whole thing- Sarah and I had our little field trip on Saturday. Us driving to my appointment feeling scared shitless:

Here's my pure virgin wrist "before":

Before wrist tattoo

Here's me off in la la land because, um- yeah, it kinda hurts:

Diane deer in headlights

Here's Sarah having fun filming me again and teasing me laughing: "Yeah- that's blood Diane." (Did I mention my head was in the clouds? It was all a bit surreal. I clearly wasn't thinking straight, but yes- I was 110% sober!)

This is the final product. Whoa:

Blue Lollipop Tattoo!

Naturally we had to get a milkshake after. Sarah had told me a few weeks ago when I was having a chicken moment: "It'll be Ok, we can go get a milkshake after!" Who am I to argue that?

Tattoo reward: Milk shake

Chocolate milkshakes make me very, very happy. Of course Sarah had to get a treat too, but was grabbing the camera when I turned it back around on her:

Sarah playing with the camera

As I stare at my wrist now, with my cool looking wound healing, I still can't wrap my brain around it. I have had some freak-out moments, thoughts that it would come off in the water and feelings that an alien is tied to my body. Weird and odd are the two words that come to mind from these past 4 days. Not bad, just WHOA: like as in- forever? This was as far planned as it could've ever been, and I wanted it. You just never know how you'll feel until it's actually yours. I am risking moms out there rolling their eyes here, but the only thing I can think to compare the simultaneous feelings of permanence, pride, joy and fear when you finally "see" something that is so close to you, is what I would imagine having a baby would be like. A complete flood of emotions, then when the moment calms you say to yourself: "Ok, so now what the heck am I supposed to do with this thing?" When the roller coaster stops, you ease into normalcy and routine and it suddenly fits perfectly leaving you wondering what your life ever was without it before.

I didn't need to get this tattoo to remind myself why I do what I do, or to remember anyone. Those things will always stick with me and be in my soul. I wanted to get this tattoo, because this particular blue lollipop has become part of my being, and now I'll always be able to take one with me wherever I go. My weird/odd initial feelings have fast turned into giddy excitement- to a certain extent that is: I'm not planning my "next" one that's for sure. Those already regular comments: "This is your first! Just wait, you will get addicted and want more!" - you must be kidding me. I'm laughing...

...or I could just punch myself in the face 100 times and call it a day right? That might hurt less. I think my one single tattoo and I are going to skip happily off into the sunset alone thankyouverymuch :)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

how to #1

Part of what I am working on here with Blue Lollipop Road is sharing information on "how to." What good are all the tips and tricks I have picked up along the way if I don't share them so others might benefit?

How to get and Intern:

*Put and add on Craigslist
*Pick your city
*Click post to classified
*Click job offered
*Choose a category. (I chose web/HTML/info. design jobs for my post.)
*Write your post for what you need. (Write in your own language- how it would sound in your voice if it were audio), be up front and honest about expectations and whether you have money to pay or not
*Answer any responses to your ad immediately
*Meet with candidate as soon as you can
*Start working ASAP

Yes, it does seem crazy that people out there would work for free. Then again I have worked for free about a gazillion times. People want to work in things that interest them and they want to build their resumes, no matter what age. Sarah, my stupendous Intern just so happened to be a fresh college grad with a ton of talent and not enough places to be able to put it. Here is the email that she wrote back to me from my Craigslist ad back in June:


From: Sarah
Date: June 24, 2010 1:29:05 PM EDT
To: job-w3dyz-1808068057@craigslist.org
Subject: The Alaska Project

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html

Dear Diane,

I have been scouring the Craigslist art job page since I graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University Photography & Film department about a month ago. Alas, I have not had much luck! On the other hand, I did see your post concerning a revamping of your blog/website and your impending trip to Alaska. This immediately peaked my interest!

I was born in Alaska, but didn't spend more than three years there. My dad's government job was transferred to DC, which ultimately lead to my education at the amazing art school- VCU. I vow to one day return to not only photograph the amazing countryside, but perhaps take up residence- even if it is only for a few months.

I would absolutely love to help you rework your website/blog! It's something that I am constantly learning more about as I begin to market my own work within the art world. I took a web design class at VCU one semester where we learned basic html code. It's time consuming and challenging, but that's what makes it fun. It definitely aided me in the creation of my current website. sarahannphoto.blogspot.com It's hard to make a creative but still FREE website when you don't have a job, so you have to work with what you got. =)

I would love to participate in your trip and live vicariously through your road trip to AK! Please let me know if you could use my assistance!




My situation went like this:

*People started suggesting I get an intern
*I smartened up after about the 15th person made that suggestion
*Put an ad on Craigslist giving the straight up of who I was and what I needed at some absurd hour like 1am on 6/24
*Sarah responded less than 30 minutes later
*I get her email by lunchtime on that same day
*I called her, asked when she might be free for coffee to talk about the project
*20 minutes later I walk into the coffee shop and she is already waiting there, smiling and ready to work


I know. Seems a bit too perfect right? Don't you have to have a big company, offices, or something to get an Intern? I hate to be all field of dreams here (I think I have used that line before,) But if you build it, they will come. People want to help you. You have to give a flip about what you are doing. If you don't have a "story" for why you're doing it, or if you are not willing to share that story, how could others give a flip about it and what's really going to make them want to help? Make sense? Did you get the part above where Sarah was born in Alaska? That day back in May- that rush that I had to get to Alaska this summer to complete my 16 year goal happened out of nowhere. I trusted my gut, decided to go for it, asked for help and Sarah listened because I shared my story. Now 7 months, 16,000 miles and lots of work later, she's still sticking by my side as an unpaid Intern. Not only is she my intern, but has become a friend and someone who has hugely helped me continue to work on this thing that I give all my flips about. I look forward to the day that I can hand her buckets of money for all she's done for me. In the meantime I give her a million thanks and feed her Fruit 66 and mac n' cheese :)

How to get an Intern? Ask for one. If you need tips or advice beyond this- let me know. I'll be happy to help you.

P.S~ If you are looking for a funky cool gift for someone check out Sarah's Etsy store here for her ceramics or drop her a line here about doing some photography for you. She is incredibly talented, not to mention ridiculously fun and reliable to work with!

Monday, January 10, 2011

what was it like driving the alaska highway?

Where do I begin? Well, for one, it certainly gave new meaning to "Next gas 350km" that's for sure. One of the few spots I fueled up along the way, Toad River Lodge:

Toad River Lodge, Alaska Highway

Complete with a funny looking toad on the side of the building. Welcome to my pad? I'm sorry- but that cracks me up:

Toad River Lodge, Alaska Highway

An old-school gas pump:

Toad River Lodge, Alaska Highway

...and about 500 dusty random hats left from truckers and other over the years:

Hats at Toad River Lodge

Not knowing what was going to be along the way, so I'd run into places like this is was perfect. I love unplanned surprises.

More to come from Alaska and beyond!

no black sheep

In my Twitter feed the other day I learned of the movie: Pariah. Naturally I clicked through, curious at the intriguing looking film. Of course that lead me to learn of Kickstarter (what a great fundraising platform!) and to also watch the preview and interview with the makers of the film. I've shared before that I have a brother who is gay and several friends as well, so projects like this make me very thankful. We all have those days we feel judged, unsupported and confused as we grow up and attempt to find our feet underneath us. It's hard enough to be an average, straight joe and wrap your head around your place in the world. I can't imagine having my sexuality judged and hated too like so many do in the mix of the already overwhelming growing up process. The only way we'll be able to keep promoting tolerance is to create windows into other people's worlds that might be different than ours. Exposure is everything.

Congratulations on being a selection for the Sundance Film Festival Pariah. I hope you make your fundraising goal. Thank you for working so hard to make a film that will encourage open hearts and open minds. You are no doubt saving lives.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

on these frigid east coast winter mornings...

...how I miss waking up to this sun and warm from my little cottage on the vineyard in Napa:

Morning at the Creole Cottage on Swanson Vineyard

Time for some hot cocoa!



Saturday, January 8, 2011

we're off to see the wizard

It's BLR Team Building Day!

Sarah and I are off for our outing of fun. I'll share the surprise later. Well, I might make you wait for a day or two for the video, but it's coming.

Just one thing to say: STRONG MOJO!

Famed Blue Lollipops, found dusting at a store along the Alaska highway

Friday, January 7, 2011

graffiti and polenta

Last night I had dinner with friend and at my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world, Mamma Zu. I have only written about this place about 142 times. It's that yummy to me. I love that they still don't even have a website, or at least I've never been able to find one when I do a search. Great thing about a place that good and that busy? They don't need one!

I was one happy camper when I looked up at the chalkboard menu and saw an appetizer that had seemed to disappear for years: polenta gorgonzola. Of course we ordered it. Here's our serving:

Polenta gorgonzola at Mamma Zu

The whole package at Mamma Zu makes me happy: Incredible food, good wine, reasonable prices, funky looking characters working in the tiny open kitchen, seedy neighborhood, dilapidated looking building with paint peeling off the front door next to the "pull hard" paper sign taped to it, and the graffiti on the bathroom walls. (That is just scratching the surface.) Of course I have participated in the allowed delinquency over the years, writing on those walls of the scrubby looking ladies room. This summer before I left for Alaska, I had to get my Mamma Zu fix. The bathroom wall 6 months ago was fairly bare, so I opted from some prime real estate to write my message. Guess what was still there last night? Indeed my message, with a "response" of sorts from a stranger:

Graffiti bathroom wall at Mamma Zu

In case you can't read the message above mine, it says: "Alaska was here. Do what you like and like what you do!"

Hoorah to that Alaska...thanks! I left you a message back, so you'll have to check it out next time you're in my favorite little hole in the wall house of deliciousness.

To my dinner company~

Here's to moving at the speed of light, no matter what your age, going to bed happy, and waking up even happier. Thank you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

vote for one week job!

Guess who's up for a Pepsi Refresh Grant?! My friends at One Week Job. Yay for them! I've written about Sean and OWJ a few times here. I got to meet and stay with him when I drove through Vancouver this summer during Alaska or Bust. I had a blast hanging out with he, Ian (Videographer) and their friends. In person, these guys were more humble, generous and interesting than I could've imagined. (What a bonus to find out people you think would be uber cool are even better than that when you finally meet.)

Please vote here for One Week Job.

Sean and Ian~

Congratulations on everything. So happy for you guys. Good luck and keep doing all that you do. Here's to work you believe in, and following your passion!

BLR 3.0

This is Sarah, the BLR intern. You've met her before:


What a goofball. I love this photo. She and I have been working very hard to give Blue Lollipop Road a new look and updated information. I owe her like, big time X 1,000. She's stupendous.

Look up and click through the pages up top to see new stuff.

Sarah and I are off to do something really fun this weekend, so watch for photos and video next week. (Ooh I am so excited for this one.) Wait until you see what we do for our "company outing." Nothing like some good old fashioned team building. Mwah-ah-ahhh...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

do coupons ever really expire?

Alicia, who runs Social Media for American Honda Motor Company left me a return voicemail. SWEET! You know I love a Honda.

Travis, the Founder and CEO of Gogobot. has returned my email and we have set up a time to chat via phone. YAY! You know I love a fun company filled with people that travel.

In the irony of life, they both asked if I could stop by and meet them within days after I left the west coast to come east for the holidays. Thankfully I have a Honda that's reliable and great on gas mileage, so if it's necessary for me to drive a quick 3,000 miles again soon, I am all over it. We shall see. These are some of the many surprises to come. Aren't you excited? I sure am.

Who knows what the future holds. I don't need to. What I do know is the best way to do something is to start doing it. How is Alicia at Honda ever going to know I love the product her company makes if I don't tell her? How is Travis supposed to know I think it'd be fun and I am experienced enough to work with his company if I don't say: "Hey there Travis! I think your company looks swell. I'd really like to work with you, look what I have done! Can we chat?"

Before I get to my point in case you haven't gotten it already, I'd like to share some inside scoop with you: I AM NOT A GENIUS. (In fact, I just Googled genius right now because no matter how many times I type it, I still want to type it as "genous" incorrectly spelled.) So? When people are aghast and asked how I've "managed" to do something, I reply: "I know this is going to sound crazy, but I just did it." (Go figure, those Nike guys have been on to something all these years.) Logistics? Sure. Planning? Sometimes. Actually doing, as in- asking, attempting, starting some kind of movement? Yes. There's no other way.

If you like it, love it, or gotta have it (indeed this is in reference to the fun sizes at Cold Stone Creamery) then start squeaking. If you're not squeaking for that cheese, the mouse in the next house that is, will get it every time.

Thanks Grandma. Your: "They always take expired coupons if you just ask. All you have to do is ask." -theory really does work!

hello, i'm diane and i'm a stamp addict

I was so intensely focused on making sure I had everything just perfect before I sealed the priority mail envelope today, I forgot to take a photo. I wanted to fully document my passport renewal process, but now all I have to show for it is this:

Passport Renewal Delivery Confirmation

...my Delivery Confirmation Receipt. Better than nothing. I was thrilled to find out even though I had to send my current passport away, it comes back with the new one. When the woman at the post office told me I had to send my delightfully stamped, stickered and bent companion away to get a new one, I probably looked like a kid who just found out there's no such thing as Santa Claus: horrified and heartbroken. She assured me that I'd have my precious blue book of traveled miles back in just 4 to 6 weeks. Whew!

When the nice girl at Kinkos handed the photos she took of me to send along, I thought- what?! THAT is the pasty white, winter skinned and chubby cheeked girl who will be staring back at me for the next 10 years on this mucho important document? Great. Then I remembered that I'd only ever be looking at that photo while at some kind of border patrol or customs station, which would mean that I'd be on my way to adventure somewhere. Suddenly I could care less whether I looked like a purple panda, a booger face, or a pasty white chunk head. I just happily skipped out the door knowing once again, that the world is my oyster...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

good things come to those who wait

At least that's what they tell me.

I know, I think talk is cheap and I like results too, so I am here to say sorry to keep you waiting for the surprises I have been teasing you about. Turns out, things do take longer than expected sometimes. I promise when you log on and visit here this week, you will see some fun changes. There will indeed be a lot more goodies after that as well in this fine month of January to kick off 2011- so sit tight.


Monday, January 3, 2011

the passport streaker

I gasped and nearly jumped out of the shower buck naked this morning when I remembered my passport expires in a few weeks. I had asked the postal clerk when I was in Ketchikan, Alaska in August about current passport renewal policies knowing that mine was coming up on expiration, but I had simply forgotten about it since then. Considering I think it's near tragic when I hear about anyone I know not having one, I'll go without food before I'll let my mini book of freedom and exposure kick the bucket. Not having a passport is like going without health insurance: It's just not smart. I wrote about this here nearly 2 years ago . After Googling "Number of Americans with passports" again today, I am shocked to learn that the miniscule number of my fellow Americans who even have the power to cross the U.S border hasn't changed.

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations- (That'd be the perfect time for one!), Secretaries Day, Bastille Day- whatever, give the gift of life. (Yes, like child birth or blood donation: The gift that keeps on giving.)

Trust me, your kids will thank you down the road for saying no to the latest iPhone and yes to a family vacation hiking around South America, going on an African Safari, or heck- simply crossing the Canadian border in your minivan to see some gorgeous mountains and their first ever sea plane. Here's the first one I had ever seen. I screeched with delight when I turned the corner driving through Canada this summer and saw it. I am 32 years old and I still screeched over a sea plane:

Sea plane on the Alaska Highway

Think it looks cool from a simple photo on my blog? Live in person and taking off for flight while standing right beside it was a hundred times cooler. There will never be an "app for that.

Me? Hugely passionate about how travel can open eyes and change lives? Just a teeny bit.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I cracked up when my intern Sarah sent me this photo today from a book she was perusing at Barnes & Noble. Come on- this is hilarious. Don't be offended by the eff-bomb:)

Photo from art book

Quite befitting after the trip of a lifetime I just finished eh?

Ms. Sarah~

Can I ever say thanks enough for being that amazingly talented random stranger who dropped into my life 6 months ago to help to prep me for my last frontier and the one who still helps me when I need it now? I can't wait to see where your road leads. All I know is it's going to be a colorful and good one, and I plan on being one of your biggest fans. Keep those dreams flowing...

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Dear 2010~

Thank you. I declared you my year and you sure didn't disappoint. We've come a long way baby.

Here's to surprising everyone including ourselves.

Dear 2011~

Care to dance?